7 Best Practices of Chart Design

Mike Lynn is the principal of thought LEADERS. Before he started working at Mckinsey, Lynn spent a lot of time in marketing, communications, and business writing jobs. At McKinsey, Lynn was responsible for helping consultants improve their communications. It enabled the consultants to smoothly convey their analysis and recommendation to clients.
Lynn was extremely happy to see the top global consulting firm put such emphasis on communication. He thought that his skills of audience-mindedness, message clarity, and sharp editing would come to use even for serving clients at the premier consulting firm. But on the first day of his job, Lynn discovered that the language of communication at the consulting firm was something completely different.
He realized that professional conversation was beyond words. He soon became familiar with the concept of data visualization. Data visualization involves visually representing data using graphs, maps, and charts. The best data visualization practices ensure that large amounts of data can be interpreted easily.
Using charting practices to visually represent your data will help you become an effective communicator in the corporate space. The charting practices will be useful in different industries, from finance to marketing. Keep reading to learn about the best practices that can help you convey messages in a visually pleasing and easy-to-understand manner.

Audience-Appropriate

One of the best charting practices is making the data appropriate for your audience. You need to speak in a language that’s easy to understand for people to whom you are conveying your messages. In order to make your data audience-appropriate, you will have to work on identifying your target audience.
It will ensure that you are able to find customized techniques according to the specific set of audiences. Your potential target audience can include business executives, marketers, social media managers, educators, entrepreneurs, and more. You should develop a vision to recognize and represent your target audience so that everyone remains on the same page.
When your data is clear and understandable to the target audience, they will be able to process it effectively. But problems might occur when the image conveyed by you is interpreted differently by your target audience. Therefore, it’s crucial for you to deliver the primary concept of your visualization as early as possible.



Clear and Logical

Before representing your raw data in a graphical format, you need to clean the dataset properly. Data cleaning revolves around filtering inaccuracies or anomalies in your dataset. Remember that a dataset with inaccuracies won’t be clear to your target audience.
The data also needs to be presented in a logical manner. Therefore, choosing the right chart for representing the data is also important. You can choose between different charting options like line graphs, bar charts, pie charts, and more.

Self-Explanatory

Graphs and charts are useful for identifying patterns in the data quickly. When you add labels to your chart, they become self-explanatory. Your target audience can understand the significant values in the chart by reading the labels.
Your chart should also come with a caption. It enables the target audience to understand how to read the figures. The labels and captions serve as a clarification that you might be giving in an oral presentation.

Distraction-Free

Your charts might try to convey a lot of things together. But it should never distract the target audience from the primary message. Therefore, you must highlight the crucial points in some way.

Interesting

Your charts also need to be interesting so that the target audience does not lose their attention. Adding color is a great way of making your charts more interesting and easy to understand. However, the pop of colour should not distract the target audience from their point of focus.

Insightful

The charts need to provide crucial insights into the target audience. In other words, the data represented in charts should be valuable for the target audience.

Brief

We are thriving in a fast-paced world, and everyone is trying to run as fast as possible to win the rat race. Everyone is looking for shortcuts, even when it comes to communication. How often do you call your friends nowadays?
Most of the time, we try to do it over text. We are conveying your messages through memes and emoticons nowadays. The truth is no one has all the time in the world to listen to what you have to say all day long. This is even more true in the corporate space, where people are dealing with multiple projects simultaneously.
While presenting your data in charts, you need to make it as brief as possible. The target audience shouldn’t have to spend too much time on them to understand what you are trying to say. Precise data also leaves no room for confusion.

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